Perspectives

When the Amateur Cook is The Guru!

Chefs in action

The cult of skilled and purposeful people, by maintaining its stern silence, have few selected members. That this cult survives generation after generation is itself a miracle. On the other hand, talking and laughing mediocrity flourishes. More people are drawn into it. Classicism has limited takers. However, fun needs no force to enroll its members.

How the cook becomes a guru

There comes a time when even the most distracted cook finds a disciple. This is because, the amateur cook is so delighted that he can actually cook that he goes around telling everyone about his/her accomplishments.

And since words are more easily created than good dishes, she is generous in describing the results of her cooking. So, it is only a matter of time when some person lurking in the corner with secret desire to cook starts paying attention. And like everything else, if one starts listening to words eventually one will fall a victim to them.

So now the lazy, sane cook has a disciple who wants to be like him/her and perform the same mediocre acts in the kitchen. This newly-acquired disciple now starts asking questions and the amateur cook must answer him.

Difference between serious and amateur cooks

Remember, serious result-oriented cooks are smug, proud and will teach no one. In fact, they might misguide them.  They will never reveal how much of anything should be put into a vessel of what size. They are a cult. Serious cooks speak in riddles and signal each other to pass on secret messages.

The amateur cook on the other hand is a talker. He speaks out his mind all the time and so no wonder, the shy person in the corner is drawn towards this flamboyant talker. The wannabe cook does not pay attention to the smug, critical person standing with a frown. If the people who know how to cook resort to silence, then the mediocre talker will flourish.

The most prominent trait of a sane, lazy cook is a remarkable lack of predictable outcomes. He does not have a well-thought plan. He relies on love, humility and such soft traits to get by in life. And so how does he become a guru?

Why the amateur cook succeeds as a guru

A guru must have answers. Or not. The reason that this mediocre cook is a better guru is simple. He does not put down the shy person. He displays his own helplessness. And as the shy disciple looks at his guru scrambling for vegetables, running for the phone and forgetting to turn off the oven, he is relieved. If this person can exist, then his own existence is justified.

The lazy cook is also full of admiration for everything. Because of his distracted ways any outcome is a miracle. And so, he is genuinely surprised when things happen. This admiration then he showers on every little act of the shy student. And the student walks away after a session feeling like a hero.

The amateur guru has an infectious sense of humor. All along things have been beyond his control. He does something and some results accrue. This makes him laugh at himself and everything around him. And so, this humor makes these sessions pleasant and enjoyable.

The real cook who could have been a guru, if and when he condescends to accept a student will take a stern approach. He will make the student practice. “Measure this” he will say “Add exactly half a tea spoon”. “Pay attention”. He will make him/her do mindless repetitive things to sharpen his skills. A shy disciple who walked into this elitism with shyness and diffidence is worn down. He stops showing up.

Whereas with our friendly blundering cook, he feels at ease, the sessions are enjoyable. Turn the oven on, let the music the music begin. And no results are expected. There is absolute joy.

To conclude

The cult of skilled and purposeful people, by maintaining its stern silence, have few selected members. That this cult survives generation after generation is itself a miracle. On the other hand, talking and laughing mediocrity flourishes. More people are drawn into it. Classicism has limited takers. However, fun needs no force to enroll its members.

 

The author Ravi Krishnan is an amateur cook and entrepreneur who lives in Cupertino, CA. 

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